It’s that time of the year in the Kansas City area where you start calling around courses for tee times to only find out that EVERYONE is aerating their greens. It’s frustrating from a player’s standpoint, but ultimately necessary for the course. Green aeriation is one of the most important procedures performed on a golf course in order to keep those greens healthy, fast, and true. Let’s take a look at 4 reasons why green aeration is so essential.
1. Thatch Removal and Prevention
Thatch is the layer of the pre-existing turf material that accumulates over time. Too much thatch can act as a sponge and will prevent fertilizers and water to properly be absorbed into the soil. Fungal growth can become common if water from irrigation builds up within the thatch instead of reaching the soil. Because of this, thatch can create diseases and and an inconsistent putting surface. Pulling plugs out of the ground will reduce soil and thatch compaction and allow oxygen and water to easily flow into the soil, which in return promotes healthy turf growth.
2. Heavy Top Dressing is a Necessity
Right after the plugs are pulled and removed from the green, sand is added and spread evenly to help fill the voids. You’ll notice a heavy amount of sand usage right after the plugs are removed. This is to make sure these holes get filled properly. Too little sand can result in an incomplete job and leave the aeration holes linger much longer than expected. A uniform sand base helps heel the greens quicker and keeps them consistent and smooth for the long haul.
3. Room for the Roots
Pulling plugs out of the ground will reduce soil compaction. This allows oxygen and water to easily flow into the soil and helps promote root growth. Deeper roots create a healthier putting surface. It is much easier for superintendents to keep the greens alive and strong during the hot summer months with deep, well established roots.
Like mentioned before, it can be frustrating that nearly every course aerates and top dresses their greens at the same time. This is because superintendents follow a seasonal game plan, and with the Kansas City weather being unpredictable, there is only a small window to perform this yearly practice. Too early and the cold weather will stunt turf growth. Too late and the course could miss the opportune growing season. There is usually a 2 or 3 week period where it is ideal to aerate the greens in order for the quickest turnaround time to get the greens back up and running for everyone.
In the grand scheme of things, a couple weeks of less-than-ideal playing conditions on the greens is well worth the trade out. This simple process prolongs the course to consistently keep the greens smooth and fast over the next few months. A well maintained putting surface is a key element for optimal playing conditions that everyone can enjoy.
Here are Dub’s Dread Golf Club, we aeriated and top-dressed our greens March 22nd – 24th with expected recovery conditions through Sunday, March 28th. Check out our available tee times by hitting the button below!